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How To Recover From Stress

What is stress and how can it impact our lives?

It is often said that there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes, but there is another that is less spoken of - stress. No matter who you are or what your current position is, it is quite certain that you will encounter stress and stressful situations at some point in your life. 

Stress is a normal physical and psychological response to the demands of everyday life. It can come from any situation or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous. Stress can be beneficial in some situations, as it can help you to stay alert and focused. However, when stress is constant, it can take a toll on your health, both physically and mentally. If you're feeling overwhelmed by stress, there are steps you can take to recover and improve your well-being.

Causes of stress

There are many different things that can cause stress. It is fair to say that almost any situation can become stressful under the wrong conditions. Some common stressors include work, family troubles, challenging relationships, finances, and health problems. It's important to identify the things that are causing you stress so that you can take steps to reduce or eliminate them if that is possible. 

Unfortunately, it is not always easy or possible to completely eliminate the things that cause you to stress, so it is just as important to learn how to manage your stress levels with good coping strategies. Learning to distinguish between the things you can and cannot change can be a helpful part of learning to let go of the sense of needing to do something or make changes. Some say that acceptance can be a powerful coping strategy.

Symptoms of stress

Stress can cause a variety of physical and mental symptoms. These can include anxiety, depression, irritability, and sleep problems. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, it's important to take action to reduce your stress levels.

Every time you feel stress your body releases cortisol and adrenaline to prepare you for the situation you are facing. While this can be useful, it often makes people feel overwhelmed because the physical sensations can be unpleasant when they are unexpected, undesired and constant in everyday life. It is very common for people to adopt avoidance strategies just to avoid situations that trigger those physical and emotional responses.

Interestingly, the sensations are very similar if not identical to the ones you would experience at a theme park or some other adventurous activity. This makes it possible to reframe the way your mind perceives those physical experiences. 

The effects of stress on our bodies

Chronic stress can lead to a number of health problems, including high blood pressure and heart disease. For this reason, it is imperative to take action and reduce your stress levels to protect your health.

There is a debated theory regarding adrenal fatigue. Many believe that experiencing adrenaline and cortisol releases too frequently causes the body harm and reduce your body’s ability to produce vital hormones and or increases sensitivity to those hormones. Science says that this is not sufficiently proven, but those that experience it are adamant the condition is real. 

How to manage stress and help your body to recover

There are many different ways to manage stress. It is important to choose the strategies that you find easiest to implement, but also to try and incorporate several strategies because they each work in different ways and for different reasons. 

Examples include breathing exercises, meditation, walks in nature, physical and in particular, aerobic exercise, change of diet, acquiring a support pet, joining social clubs and support groups, building good sleep habits, intimacy, and positive reinforcement through hobbies. 

These examples may sound simple, but they are proven to work. The idea is to reset your body to its natural state. Did you know that in Japan doctors prescribe forest bathing? This is spending dedicated time in nature and going for scenic walks. It is proven to lower stress levels. 

When to seek help for stress

If you're feeling overwhelmed by stress, or if it's interfering with your ability to function in daily life, it's important to seek help from a doctor or mental health professional. They can provide you with guidance and support to help you reduce your stress levels and improve your well-being. There are lots of Non-Government Organisations that can also help you manage the specific things that cause you to stress, like debt, childcare, legal issues, etc.

If your motivation is so low that you are struggling to or no longer meet your obligations to yourself or others, or you are causing yourself physical harm or contemplating it, then it's time to seek professional help. No questions asked! 

It is important to remember that there is often more help available than you realise. Take debt for example, which is a leading cause of stress. There are many organisations that help you to take control of your finances and create plans; sometimes they speak to the companies you owe money to and negotiate repayment terms and even reduce the amount owed. 

The point here is that there are often things you can do to take at least some control of your situation and you don’t have to take on the world alone. Taking steps towards being in control has a big impact on your stress levels because it overcomes the sense of helplessness, which is often a major driver of stressful situations. 

Tips for reducing stress in your life

Stress can be dangerous and harmful to your overall well-being. It is important to take control of the situation before it grows into something bigger and scarier. There is lots of help available to you and people do care if you are suffering. 

Remember, it is not always as bad as it seems and tomorrow can always be brighter. It’s never too late to turn things around, even if it feels that way. Time is on your side. 

Recovery is about being patient with yourself. Don’t place too high expectations on yourself because that will just bring you down. At the same time, place enough expectations on yourself to drive you to make a positive change. 

Remember that rest is important for the body and mind. Taking time out in nature will do you wonders, so don’t overlook this powerful gift.  

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